B Side Episode 2
B Sides: Altos Las Hormigas Malbec “Clásico” Argentina, What Did I Expect From Pearl Jam
Off the bat… tortilla chips are becoming my palette cleanser between tastings, love it.
Tonight’s wine comes from probably the most well-known region of Argentina and it probably its most well-known wine. This is a region that is continually disregarded as having cheap or economy wine that is not worth anyone’s time… and that is true. At least for the most part. But what do you expect from a region that has over 300,000 acres; that it is just a fucking numbers game? However, this is way down from their 1980 count of 630,000+ acres.
This wine is produced by an Italian winemaker, Alberto Antonini, and a “young entrepreneur” (website’s words…) Antonio Morescalchi in the mid-90s. I assume this is also why the wine is labeled as a “Clásico”, as they are from the Tuscany region and also “Clásico” isn’t a thing in Argentina, though their labeling laws are similar in that they are regionally based. By the markings on the bottle it seems this wine has one higher designation. The climate of Luján de Cuyo, where this wine’s vineyards are, is semi-desert with hot days and cool nights.
On the nose the wine began with intense dark cherry and cola; not unlike a mixed slushy. Giving it time to open, notes of brown sugar and vanilla come through, showing a presence of American oak. More time yields black pepper, smoked paprika, and a chalkboard minerality and a hot/rapid fermentation.
The palette carries some notes over, such as the cherry and the cola qualities but what also arrives is an interesting creamy quality; maybe some Hungarian oak? As the wine opens there is more of this duck fat quality, at times like you are biting into Bistro Jeanty duck cassoulet… too bougie, I know.
This is a solid wine that would pair with a number of things; mainly nailing the idea of what grows together goes together, so traditional Argentinian dishes. That being said it doesn’t exceed its price point; meaning it doesn’t exceed its value, it doesn’t get over its skis. I don’t know how to end this, should I be doing a ratings system? That seems like a lot of work…
An Open Letter to Pearl Jam: Dear Pearl Jam, I don’t want to write this. I’m not happy writing this but here we go. Your new album comes off as just background music. Ugh, barf. I know. It is upsetting to write, almost as upsetting as it is to listen to. There is little that is captivating. I just end up tuning out halfway through most of the songs. The exception being “Dance Of The Clairvoyants”, this shit is just bad. Please don’t make dance tracks… Additionally and/or side note, “Never Destination” is just repackaged “Worldwide Suicide”. But what should I expect from you? I put you in a shitty spot: I demand bands to evolve and grow and continue to experiment. However, that is a lofty expectation. You’ve been around for thirty years! Killing it for most of that time. Fucking Arcade Fire disappointed me recently and they haven’t been around nearly as long. You have been prolific and it is unfair for me to demand every album be mountingly incredible. Please, don’t rest on your laurels, be better. I love you. Sincerely, Nick
*Giant sigh of sadness… sips, no… gulps wine down.*
Until next time, Cheers!